The experiences and emotions – how I became a Shark on Shark Tank India

This is the first from a series to be published every week where Namita Thapar, Executive Director – Emcure Pharmaceuticals relives her ‘moments’ as a Shark on Shark Tank India, the Indian version of the hugely popular global show. Here, she talks of an energising vs depleting experience.
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In the midst of an IPO for Emcure Pharmaceuticals, a pandemic and a brutal Xth Grade ICSE exam for my older one, saying ‘yes’ to Shark Tank India wasn’t an easy decision. 

I agreed to do this show with only one purpose… to show my support for an important cause - celebrating the entrepreneurs of our country! 

Namita Thapar on Shark Tank India

I wasn’t sure if the shoot would be easy. We are used to deciding our schedules, moving between offices and meetings and here we were expected to be at a studio in Film City, Mumbai for 14 hours a day every single weekend for three days at a time for two months.

While a lot has been written about the show and what it means for the country, I wanted to write a personal piece, sharing my experiences and emotions along this exciting journey. 

Three things made this an energising vs energy depleting experience for me personally, so here goes”

My co-sharks  

I didn’t know any of my co-sharks (Ashneer Grover, Aman Gupta, Vineeta Singh, Ghazal Alagh, Piyush Bensal, Anumpam Mittal) prior to the shoot. They are super smart and super fun people. On screen we fought for deals but backstage we danced, laughed and learned a lot from each other. 

Let’s not kid ourselves, when you put five Type A personalities in a room together, there are bound to be pow-wows and I have had my fair share of these but in the end, we all respected each other and the cause enough to let go quickly and look at the bigger picture. Most of us collaborated and co-invested on deals (quite different from other Shark Tank global shows). This, I am sure, will add a lot of value to the founders we have invested in. 

The team behind the scenes

I had walked in with biases that the media world would not be efficient as we are used to a certain professional work ethic and discipline at our workplaces. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Right from the briefing notes to the scheduling to editing, the team has blown me away with their competence, hard work and sincerity towards the cause and for the cynics – I would like to repeat, nothing was scripted, and we knew absolutely nothing about the ventures till they walked in that door and pitched to us. 

The entrepreneurs

There were days I would walk in tired as I had not slept enough due to work and personal calls post the 14-hour shoots but the minute these founders walked in, all bright eyed, high energy and with the biggest smiles, I was filled with optimism and energy. With their passion, drive, positivity, they wowed us, they inspired us, they moved us and brought tears to our eyes and overall, it’s fair to say that they taught us a lot more than we taught them!

Last week I heard some names from the startup ecosystem criticise the show. All I would like to say is that they lost a huge opportunity to impact and influence millions of Indians to understand, respect and take up the entrepreneurial journey. 

Are there some parts of the show that need improvement ? Of course. there are but it’s only Season 1 vs other countries like the US where they are on Season 13.

So can we stop judging, instead get involved, and help make it better ? This was new for all of us and we learned along the way; we are still internalising and learning. As long as we did this for the right reasons and for the right cause, we will keep working on it and will keep improving.

I  would like to conclude by saying that I funded 25 ventures on this show, many more than I had planned to, and I know it is going to be a fun journey with these crazy mavericks.

It is truly an honour to be a small part of their big vision, and to support our nation builders. I will always be grateful to this show for connecting me to these wonderful people who have touched my heart and reminded me about the power of simplicity, ambition and goodness that still exists in our country. The future looks bright indeed. 

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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